Bomber Darby brings nose for the ball, if not his cars, to Winnipeg

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Alden Darby was in the Toronto Argonauts locker room the other day when a staff member called him aside.

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“Should I bring my playbook?” Darby joked, referring to what happens when players are cut off.

Darby didn’t get the pink slip, but he did get a plane ticket to Winnipeg.

The Blue Bombers traded for the defensive back after Mercy Maston tore his Achilles tendon and was lost for the season.

Darby was torn in another way.

“I’ve never been in this situation,” the 29-year-old said on Wednesday. “So there was actually a lot of stuff going through my head. My brain didn’t really clear up for a few hours. It was really foggy. It was actually surreal. Because I’ve been with the team since 2017. I’ve dedicated my life off and on the pitch in Toronto, to the city, to the fans and to the community.

“So it was kind of like, ‘What should I do? My life is here, my cars are here, my apartment is here.

As Darby sympathized with his teammates, he remembered another well-worn football line.

“Everyone loves football. But football doesn’t like anyone, ”he said. “This is the harsh reality.”

Darby says he took a deep breath and finally started to realize that maybe going to Winnipeg wasn’t so bad.

The team just won a Gray Cup title in 2019, after all. Players seem to like him there, and he’s heard good things about the environment.

“So I was really, really excited after I calmed down,” he said. “And realized that everything would be fine.”

About these vehicles, however.

A car enthusiast, Darby is not sure whether they are designed for Winnipeg winters.

One, a Porsche Panamara Turbo S, develops 620 horsepower, reaches zero to 100 in 3.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 315 km / h.

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The other, a Mercedes Benz AMG C 43, is a slowpoke by comparison, rated at “only” 385 horsepower.

“I love cars, fashion and my house,” Darby said. “That’s what I like.”

Looks like the Bombers are becoming more than a soccer player.

A product from Long Beach, Calif., Darby is a part owner of a clothing company and owns his own line of soccer cleats.

He’s also marketing to athletes at home, has taken to cooking, and hopes to shoot a cooking show.

But can he play?

At 5-11, 194 pounds, the Arizona State University product is coming off a inconsistent 2019 season in which he consistently recorded five interceptions at the head of the team.

In 43 CFL games in three seasons, he collected eight assists and returned three for touchdowns.

This bullet-hawking ability not only informs his Twitter account – @ Pic6Darb – it would have attracted the Bombers, who never encountered a forced turnover they didn’t like.

“The man above, he blessed me with abilities to get the ball,” Darby said. “I love catching the ball, the big games… just a state of mind. Whenever the ball is in my hands, I can’t wait to try to score. All I think about when I look at the defensive covers, I want to get the ball back.

Winnipeg’s defense has become one of the most skillful in the CFL, the 45 turnovers it forced in 2019 just two behind league leaders Calgary.

This isn’t the only way Darby should fit in.

“I know he’s a good leader, good in the locker room,” said head coach Mike O’Shea. “So he’s a good fit from that point of view. We will see which position suits him best and where we need him to fit in. He made a lot of plays in the CFL. So it should be pretty nice to see how fast he takes it. “

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Darby knows a little more about O’Shea. Heck, you can’t walk through Argos facilities without hearing or seeing his name.

“No matter what game you play, you see the energy, focus and excitement that they have to come out and go on the pitch every day,” he said. “It’s a good reflection of who the head coach is. Just hearing how the guys talked, who I am as a human being, the way Winnipeg matches who I am as a player. Doing things right, going the extra mile… that’s totally my way.

Which brings us back to the road.

Will he bring his cars?

“It’s snowing a lot here,” Darby said with a laugh.

He still has two weeks to find some traction with his new defense.

The rubber hits the road for the season opener on August 5th.

ANOTHER LEG? BRING IT ON

The Blue Bombers kicking hopeful Mark Liegghio say they are ready for the competition early in training camp.

So he insists that seeing a second kicker in 12 days won’t make him lose his game.

“It’s a good test for me,” said the 24-year-old rookie on Wednesday. “It’s always good to have competition at camp. I can’t wait to fight. I know I had a little uncertain day one day… it was not acceptable to me. I know I will be better.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect me in any way. I don’t think it meant anything against me.

Four-season CFL veteran Tyler Crapigna is the next step in town.

Recently cut by Montreal, Crapigna, 28, kicked for Saskatchewan and Toronto, making 85.2% of his career field goals, 22 of 27 in 2019.

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Legghio, drafted by Winnipeg, has scored 92% of his field goal at Western but admits the college game is not the pros’ game.

He says he was too focused on being fast the first couple of days.

“I know I’m pretty quick… when I care too much about the weather I speed up and maybe don’t hit the ball with my foot the way I want to,” he said. “I am much more comfortable as the days go by.”

Having no preseason games means their first game kick, whoever gives it, will count.

If it’s potentially a winner, they’ll just have to face it.

“The preseason games make a big difference for a lot of the new guys coming in because it’s the first fight test to show coaches you can do it in this environment,” said Liegghio. “But it’s a professional setting every day at the camp. I take each rep as if we are in a game.

ADAMS ‘INJURY NOT SERIOUS

O’Shea played down Tuesday’s injury to Darvin Adams, saying the receiver will miss “a fairly short period of time.”

He stopped before saying Adams would be available for the season opener on August 5.

“I don’t expect this to be a long term thing,” he said. “I’m sure he will be fine.

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